Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (PG) - 1964 - Runtime: 94 minutes
Starring: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott
Director: Stanley Kubrick
I've always wanted to watch this movie mainly because I've only heard great things about it and how funny it is. I was really excited when I got my hands on it and finally sat down to watch it. It certainly lived up to the enormous amount of hype that I've been hearing. It's nothing short of a classic and certainly a movie that's worth watching over and over again.
The movie is a complete satire and staged as a "what if?" scenario in which the U.S. has to figure out a way to stop imminent disaster due to a rogue commander who has seen to it himself to launch a nuclear attack on Russia. It's a great set up for Cold War anxieties to be doused with a great deal of humor and somewhat of a sobering critique of superpowers who hold the key to destroying the world. The movie begins as General Jack D. Ripper becomes paranoid that the Ruskies have contaminated the water supply and orders a lockdown at his base and calls for nuclear retaliation. Bombers are sent out and in the ensuing ninety minutes the President (played so straight and pitch perfect by Sellers) and his counsel have to stop the planes from dropping their payload. The movie is absolutely hilarious. There are moments that are just too good, like the first time that the President has to call the Soviet Union's leader and let him know that we made a mistake and are accidentally going to blow up his country. You know, these things happen, right? It's such a good scene because you only hear one side of the conversation and Sellers delivers it perfectly. In fact, this movie is more of a spotlight for Sellers than anything. He plays three different characters: the President, a captain involuntarily thrust into action at Ripper's base and the enigmatic Dr. Strangelove who seems to have Mein Fuhrer-turrets. The characters are so vastly different that if you didn't know it, you probably wouldn't have guessed they were played by all the same men. Terrific performance and the rest of the cast is equally up to the task.
It's a great movie and one worth revisiting from time to time. Its themes and characters, I think, are still relevant today. In fact, the movie In the Loop is in the same vein. They both treat the government as a bunch of bumbling idiots who either don't know what they're doing or are too caught up in their own schemes to acknowledge how wrong they are. I wouldn't hesitate to say to anyone to see it now! It's funny and certainly a classic!
Rating: Own It!